Beginners Guide To Goldwork | Golden Circle

The Beginners Guide to GoldworkThe Beginners Guide to Goldwork is the new book by Ruth Chamberlin. This beautiful book is perfect for those who love traditional embroidery and want to add a touch of gold to their designs.

In this exquisite book Ruth explains all about the materials, the stitches, how to transfer designs, raise surfaces and much more. Diagrams, patterns and detailed step-by-step photographs illustrate each stage and include superb finished pieces which will appeal to all embroiderers, whatever their skill level.

We have been really lucky to get an extract from the book so you can try your hand at this beautiful technique. Try out the Golden Circle design below.

There are so many ways of using gold, and in this project I am laying the threads on the surface of the fabric in order to make a circular form. It shows very clearly the malleability of the gold thread. I have embellished the circle with simple, straight lines of couching in a contrasting colour. A more intricate design worked within the same shape is also shown.

For working gold into a circular shape it is best to use a fine thread (K4 imitation Jap gold is ideal) as a thick thread would not turn so well. I use a silk thread for couching down the gold, and a No. 9 sharps needle.

First draw a circle measuring 4.5cm (1¾in) diameter on to your fabric. Using a pencil or marker pen, draw within this shape eight diagonal lines, as shown in step 1. If a sharper line is required, these can be tacked in, as shown in the first two steps.

Gold will not sit neatly around a curve without being held in position with a stitch. You will see, therefore, when you arrive at step 4 that more lines have been drawn in between those already worked to mark the positions of the additional stitches required as the circle widens.

Tip: Be firm with your gold threads – place them exactly where you want them to go, and remember to always work the securing stitches from the outside in towards the centre of the shape. This helps to hold the circle together and to maintain a regular shape.

1. Pass through a single gold thread at the centre of the circle. Keep this thread on the reel. Secure it with a small stitch placed on one of the diagonals. Curve the gold thread round to form a tight inner circle, positioning the securing stitches so that they lie on the diagonals.

2. Continue round once more, and then pass through a second gold thread, just inside the first. This second gold thread should be cut from the reel and must be long enough to finish the whole shape (to pass a new thread at any point within the circle would be very difficult to hide).

3. Continue forming the circle, placing securing stitches over the two threads on the four diagonals to create the pattern. Work the securing stitches from the outside in towards the centre of the circle. This helps keep the circle as neat and tight as possible.

4. When you have worked approximately one-third of the circle, draw in four more diagonals, halfway between the first, and place securing stitches on these also.

The completed circle

This circle has a more decorative finish, created by placing securing stitches in a pattern. For the gold border, pass the inside thread first, just within the worked shape, and the second thread, offset slightly, just outside it. Work around the circumference of the circle, sewing equally spaced couching stitches, and taking the needle from the outside and working inwards to ensure the edge of the work is completely covered and to create a perfect circle. When you arrive at the point where the two outline threads meet, pass the inside thread first and then the outer thread, dovetailing the two ends together in each case.

The Beginners Guide to Goldwork is available from craft retailers and bookshops or visit

Fancy learning the art of Goldwork while staying at Beaumont Estate in Windsor? Our Craft Sanctuary retreat in May is the place to be. Find out more by clicking on the banner below. 


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